New library program provides students with textbooks on loan

By: Kelly Skjerven

A new program at the Ryerson library is aiming to give students more access to class reading materials. The library has purchased almost all textbooks required by faculty members. 

The library received increased funding in Ryerson’s budget this year and recognized that they needed more collections, said chief librarian Carol Shepstone. The library estimates the initial start-up cost of the program to be between $75,000 and $100,000.

Using a list of required textbooks provided by faculty members, the library purchased the books through the campus bookstore. If a textbook was sold through a different vendor, the library would only be able to purchase it if the faculty member made a request through them, Shepstone said. 

“When we did get that increase in funding, [it] was a priority to dedicate some of that to that collection,” Shepstone said. “We knew it would have such a huge impact on students and I think it really has.” 

In the past, textbooks were only put on reserve at the request of faculty members, according to Shepstone. Students are also able to use the eReserve program that consists of reading lists from professors.

How it works 

Students are able to take out textbooks by giving the call number of the book to the circulation desk staff. This number is found by looking up the title in the catalog, which will also notify students if the book is reservable, according to Shepstone. 

Students then have two hours to use the textbook but are able to renew it at the circulation desk if no one else is waiting for it. Students are not able to make the renewal online. 

First-year professional communications student Cameron Johnson recently found out about the program and said he will look into it for next semester.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Johnson. “Because I didn’t know about it, I did buy my textbooks which I kind of regret because I rarely ever use them.” 

One student, Kristine Ubias, believes the library can take the initiative even further by introducing eBooks, since some students don’t buy physical copies of textbooks. 

“My program doesn’t have a lot of required textbooks,” said the third year graphic communications student.  “But for my business classes I would definitely use [the program] because I only really use a textbook once or twice in the semester.” 

Two-hour loan period 

Shepstone said library staff will look at the two-hour reserve throughout the pilot and determine whether that’s the right amount of time or if it should be extended. She said they have gotten some feedback from students wishing the time slot was longer. 

“We wanted to make sure that as many students as possible has as much access as possible.” 

Shepstone said this time limit is common for reserved items to make sure books are available to students. 

Ubias thinks a longer loan period, such as five hours, would be beneficial to students who spend more time in the library.

“You’d have to go all the way downstairs and then renew it,” said Ubias. “That constant leaving and re-entering the library really gets tedious after time because, especially during peak hours, there’s not a lot of places to sit.”

First-year professional communications student Jarick Vance agrees the loan period for textbooks should be longer, despite recognizing supply may be limited. He said he doesn’t use the program himself because he considers himself a late-night studier and acknowledged that the library may not be open when he needs a book. 

“I definitely think they should do a 24-hour period, at least, because two hours is a bit limited,” Vance said.

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